Stolen Woman

Kimberly Rae
Stolen Woman
“So how do you decide, boss?”  She said the term with contempt.
   He looked up, not surprised to see her.  His eyes held only sadness.
   “How do you decide who to help and who to leave behind in the clutches of evil?  These women—do they not measure up because they’re ‘tainted,’ not innocent or proper enough to be worthy of your attention?”
   Mark stood.  His fists clenched and unclenched.  “Asha, there are things you do not know,” he said slowly, each word emphasized.
   “I know you would turn your back on this woman and leave her a slave!” Asha cried out passionately.
   “There are things you do not know,” he repeated, his eyes piercing her.  “You have to trust me on this.”
   She would not submit.  Her heart felt as hard and painfully heavy as a stone.
   “Tell me, then.”  She was sobbing now.  “Tell me something that gives me reason not to despise you.” 
   The darkness was screaming at her, laughing at her.  “James says you don’t want to get involved because you’re afraid it might taint the missions’ reputation.  Is that it?”   Mark strode toward her, his face cast in shadows.  “Who is James?” 
   “A knight in shining armor compared to you at the moment.”  Asha wiped her face with her shawl, but the tears kept coming.
    Mark took her by the arm and would not let her pull away.  “Sometimes, a guy’s armor being shiny only means he’s never actually been in a battle.  Your James talks big, but he has no idea what he’s talking about.”
   Asha stilled for a moment.  Her eyes begged him.  “Please, Mark.  Please let me go help her.  I must.”
   When he shook his head no, Asha tried to pull away, but he still held her arm.
   “You have no heart!” 
   She did not know if she whispered it or screamed it, but his reaction was strong.
   Grabbing her other arm, he pulled her to him until their noses almost touched.  He spoke through clenched teeth.  “You know nothing about my heart.”
   He released her, and walked away.  Snatching up the lantern, he turned one last time, the light flinging across him wildly as the lantern swung in his hand.
   “Don’t go back there, Asha.  Ever.  I told you I’d take care of it, and I will.  As far as you’re concerned, this is over.”
   He walked away then, leaving Asha alone in the darkness.
   She stood still, silently crying, while her resolve built.
   Mark was wrong.  It was not over at all.
   Not for her.

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